Alex Newhook should be 1C against the Nashville Predators
Tired: Darcy Kuemper sucks. Wired: Alex Newhook should start on the top line tonight against the Nashville Predators. I’m tired of talking about Darcy Kuemper. I made it clear during my Avalanche Prediction that I don’t think he will be the Colorado Avalanche starter come playoffs. What I do want to talk about is the kid (he’s not legally able to drink yet so he’s a kid) who bailed him out against the Ottawa Senators and why Alex Newhook should be 1C for tonight’s clash with the Nashville Predators.
One man’s misfortune is another man’s opportunity. In Alex Newhook’s case, it’s more than one man’s misfortune, however, this is his opportunity. With Nathan MacKinnon and JT Compher out of the lineup, the Colorado Avalanche is low on center depth and I’m about to make the case for Why Alex Newhook should be 1C. Or at the very least given a few shifts there.
Firstly, let me make clear this is not a diss on Logan O’Connor who has been serviceable if not spectacular on the top line so far. He also earned that chance with six points in twelve games prior to joining the top line, however, it may be time to try something new… despite a 7-3 win over the Seattle Kraken and a 7-5 slobber knocker against the Senators. That’s where Newhook comes in.
While his time with the Avalanche has been mostly spent at wing, Newhook’s future likely lays at the center position. That’s where he shone for Boston College and during his junior career in Canada. In the 2018-19 season, his last with the BCHL’s Victoria Grizzlies, he put up 102 points in 53 games with 64 assists. It’s those assists that make him the perfect replacement for Nathan MacKinnon.
With a shooting percentage currently of 21.4%, Newhook’s shot is sneaky good. While that will probably even out throughout the season it means defenses have to be careful and can’t sit off him too much. This gives Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog room to work when Newhook’s playmaking abilities come to the forefront.
It also means you can move Rantanen away from the center back to a right-wing position he has excelled in, while also leaving the Val Nichushkin, Nazem Kadri, and Andre Burakovsky line that has found its identity together.
As for the power-play, I like what Newhook has done on the second unit, and moving him from this could disrupt a special team that is finally finding its identity. The only thing I would like to see happen is Cale Makar taking up MacKinnon’s spot on that first unit to fire off bombs from the half-circle.
Let’s face it when King MacKinnon returns the chance of Newhook moving up the lineup drops dramatically. Hence why the Avalanche should take this opportunity now to see what they have for the future. That’s why Newhook should be 1C, at least for the foreseeable future starting tonight against the Nashville Predators.
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